ABSTRACT: This paper describes the use of the electrostatic element of an electrostatic/gecko-like adhesive to repel dust particles, which have been shown to significantly affect adhesion and reliability. The result is a non-destructive, non-contact cleaning method that can be used in conjunction with other cleaning techniques, many of which rely on physical contact between the fibrillar adhesive and substrate. The paper focuses on experimental evaluation of the repulsion of 100 ?m glass beads as a function of wave shape, frequency, phase number and electrode direction in relation to the gecko-like features. Results show that a two-phase square wave with the lowest practically feasible frequency can remove 100 ?m glass beads from a directional gecko-like adhesive with up to 70% efficiency. Finally, using the optimized electrostatic cleaning properties, results show an approximately 25% recovery in shear stress on a rough glass for three contaminated directional gecko-like adhesives after contact with a dusty table.
Project description:Geckos have the extraordinary ability to prevent their sticky feet from fouling while running on dusty walls and ceilings. Understanding gecko adhesion and self-cleaning mechanisms is essential for elucidating animal behaviours and rationally designing gecko-inspired devices. Here we report a unique self-cleaning mechanism possessed by the nano-pads of gecko spatulae. The difference between the velocity-dependent particle-wall adhesion and the velocity-independent spatula-particle dynamic response leads to a robust self-cleaning capability, allowing geckos to efficiently dislodge dirt during their locomotion. Emulating this natural design, we fabricate artificial spatulae and micromanipulators that show similar effects, and that provide a new way to manipulate micro-objects. By simply tuning the pull-off velocity, our gecko-inspired micromanipulators, made of synthetic microfibers with graphene-decorated micro-pads, can easily pick up, transport, and drop-off microparticles for precise assembling. This work should open the door to the development of novel self-cleaning adhesives, smart surfaces, microelectromechanical systems, biomedical devices, and more.
Project description:Since the discovery of the mechanism of adhesion in geckos, many synthetic dry adhesives have been developed with desirable gecko-like properties such as reusability, directionality, self-cleaning ability, rough surface adhesion and high adhesive stress. However, fully exploiting these adhesives in practical applications at different length scales requires efficient scaling (i.e. with little loss in adhesion as area grows). Just as natural gecko adhesives have been used as a benchmark for synthetic materials, so can gecko adhesion systems provide a baseline for scaling efficiency. In the tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), a scaling power law has been reported relating the maximum shear stress σmax to the area A: σmax ∝ A(-1/4). We present a mechanical concept which improves upon the gecko's non-uniform load-sharing and results in a nearly even load distribution over multiple patches of gecko-inspired adhesive. We created a synthetic adhesion system incorporating this concept which shows efficient scaling across four orders of magnitude of area, yielding an improved scaling power law: σmax ∝ A(-1/50). Furthermore, we found that the synthetic adhesion system does not fail catastrophically when a simulated failure is induced on a portion of the adhesive. In a practical demonstration, the synthetic adhesion system enabled a 70 kg human to climb vertical glass with 140 cm(2) of adhesive per hand.
Project description:When the adhesive toe pads of geckos become wet, they become ineffective in enabling geckos to stick to substrates. This result is puzzling given that many species of gecko are endemic to tropical environments where water covered surfaces are ubiquitous. We hypothesized that geckos can recover adhesive capabilities following exposure of their toe pads to water by walking on a dry surface, similar to the active self-cleaning of dirt particles. We measured the time it took to recover maximum shear adhesion after toe pads had become wet in two groups, those that were allowed to actively walk and those that were not. Keeping in mind the importance of substrate wettability to adhesion on wet surfaces, we also tested geckos on hydrophilic glass and an intermediately wetting substrate (polymethylmethacrylate; PMMA). We found that time to maximum shear adhesion recovery did not differ in the walking groups based on substrate wettability (22.7±5.1 min on glass and 15.4±0.3 min on PMMA) but did have a significant effect in the non-walking groups (54.3±3.9 min on glass and 27.8±2.5 min on PMMA). Overall, we found that by actively walking, geckos were able to self-dry their wet toe pads and regain maximum shear adhesion significantly faster than those that did not walk. Our results highlight a unexpected property of the gecko adhesive system, the ability to actively self-dry and recover adhesive performance after being rendered dysfunctional by water.
Project description:An array of micron-sized setal hairs offers geckos a unique ability to walk on vertical surfaces using van der Waals interactions. Although many studies have focused on the role of surface morphology of the hairs, very little is known about the role of surface chemistry on wetting and adhesion. We expect that both surface chemistry and morphology are important, not only to achieve optimum dry adhesion but also for increased efficiency in self-cleaning of water and adhesion under wet conditions. Here, we used a plasma-based vapor deposition process to coat the hairy patterns on gecko toe pad sheds with polar and non-polar coatings without significantly perturbing the setal morphology. By a comparison of wetting across treatments, we show that the intrinsic surface of gecko setae has a water contact angle between 70-90°. As expected, under wet conditions, adhesion on a hydrophilic surface (glass) was lower than that on a hydrophobic surface (alkyl-silane monolayer on glass). Surprisingly under wet and dry conditions the adhesion was comparable on the hydrophobic surface, independent of the surface chemistry of the setal hairs. This work highlights the need to utilize morphology and surface chemistry in developing successful synthetic adhesives with desirable adhesion and self-cleaning properties.
Project description:Many arachnids possess adhesive pads on their feet that help them climb smooth surfaces and capture prey. Spider and gecko adhesives have converged on a branched, hairy structure, which theoretically allows them to adhere solely by dry (solid-solid) intermolecular interactions. Indeed, the consensus in the literature is that spiders and their smooth-padded relatives, the solifugids, adhere without the aid of a secretion.We investigated the adhesive contact zone of living spiders, solifugids and mites using interference reflection microscopy, which allows the detection of thin liquid films. Like insects, all the arachnids we studied left behind hydrophobic fluid footprints on glass (mean refractive index: 1.48-1.50; contact angle: 3.7-11.2°). Fluid was not always secreted continuously, suggesting that pads can function in both wet and dry modes. We measured the attachment forces of single adhesive setae from tarantulas (Grammostola rosea) by attaching them to a bending beam with a known spring constant and filming the resulting deflection. Individual spider setae showed a lower static friction at rest (26%±2.8 SE of the peak friction) than single gecko setae (Thecadactylus rapicauda; 96%±1.7 SE). This may be explained by the fact that spider setae continued to release fluid after isolation from the animal, lubricating the contact zone.This finding implies that tarsal secretions occur within all major groups of terrestrial arthropods with adhesive pads. The presence of liquid in an adhesive contact zone has important consequences for attachment performance, improving adhesion to rough surfaces and introducing rate-dependent effects. Our results leave geckos and anoles as the only known representatives of truly dry adhesive pads in nature. Engineers seeking biological inspiration for synthetic adhesives should consider whether model species with fluid secretions are appropriate to their design goals.
Project description:Gecko adhesive performance increases as relative humidity increases. Two primary mechanisms can explain this result: capillary adhesion and increased contact area via material softening. Both hypotheses consider variable relative humidity, but neither fully explains the interactive effects of temperature and relative humidity on live gecko adhesion. In this study, we used live tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) and a gecko-inspired synthetic adhesive to investigate the roles of capillary adhesion and material softening on gecko adhesive performance. The results of our study suggest that both capillary adhesion and material softening contribute to overall gecko adhesion, but the relative contribution of each depends on the environmental context. Specifically, capillary adhesion dominates on hydrophilic substrates, and material softening dominates on hydrophobic substrates. At low temperature (12 °C), both capillary adhesion and material softening likely produce high adhesion across a range of relative humidity values. At high temperature (32 °C), material softening plays a dominant role in adhesive performance at an intermediate relative humidity (i.e., 70% RH).
Project description:One of the central controversies regarding the evolution of adhesion concerns how adhesive force scales as animals change in size, either among or within species. A widely held view is that as animals become larger, the primary mechanism that enables them to climb is increasing pad area. However, prior studies show that much of the variation in maximum adhesive force remains unexplained, even when area is accounted for. We tested the hypothesis that maximum adhesive force among pad-bearing gecko species is not solely dictated by toepad area, but also depends on the ratio of toepad area to gecko adhesive system compliance in the loading direction, where compliance (C) is the change in extension (?) relative to a change in force (F) while loading a gecko's adhesive system (C = d?/dF). Geckos are well-known for their ability to climb on a range of vertical and overhanging surfaces, and range in mass from several grams to over 300 grams, yet little is understood of the factors that enable adhesion to scale with body size. We examined the maximum adhesive force of six gecko species that vary in body size (~2-100 g). We also examined changes between juveniles and adults within a single species (Phelsuma grandis). We found that maximum adhesive force and toepad area increased with increasing gecko size, and that as gecko species become larger, their adhesive systems become significantly less compliant. Additionally, our hypothesis was supported, as the best predictor of maximum adhesive force was not toepad area or compliance alone, but the ratio of toepad area to compliance. We verified this result using a synthetic "model gecko" system comprised of synthetic adhesive pads attached to a glass substrate and a synthetic tendon (mechanical spring) of finite stiffness. Our data indicate that increases in toepad area as geckos become larger cannot fully account for increased adhesive abilities, and decreased compliance must be included to explain the scaling of adhesion in animals with dry adhesion systems.
Project description:We present a simple yet robust method for fabricating angled, hierarchically patterned high-aspect-ratio polymer nanohairs to generate directionally sensitive dry adhesives. The slanted polymeric nanostructures were molded from an etched polySi substrate containing slanted nanoholes. An angled etching technique was developed to fabricate slanted nanoholes with flat tips by inserting an etch-stop layer of silicon dioxide. This unique etching method was equipped with a Faraday cage system to control the ion-incident angles in the conventional plasma etching system. The polymeric nanohairs were fabricated with tailored leaning angles, sizes, tip shapes, and hierarchical structures. As a result of controlled leaning angle and bulged flat top of the nanohairs, the replicated, slanted nanohairs showed excellent directional adhesion, exhibiting strong shear attachment (approximately 26 N/cm(2) in maximum) in the angled direction and easy detachment (approximately 2.2 N/cm(2)) in the opposite direction, with a hysteresis value of approximately 10. In addition to single scale nanohairs, monolithic, micro-nanoscale combined hierarchical hairs were also fabricated by using a 2-step UV-assisted molding technique. These hierarchical nanoscale patterns maintained their adhesive force even on a rough surface (roughness <20 microm) because of an increase in the contact area by the enhanced height of hierarchy, whereas simple nanohairs lost their adhesion strength. To demonstrate the potential applications of the adhesive patch, the dry adhesive was used to transport a large-area glass (47.5 x 37.5 cm(2), second-generation TFT-LCD glass), which could replace the current electrostatic transport/holding system with further optimization.
Project description:Phragmatopoma Californica builds a tubular dwelling by gluing bits of sand and seashell together underwater with a proteinaceous adhesive. In the lab, the animals will build with 0.5 mm glass beads. Two spots of glue with a consistent volume of about 100 pL each are deposited on the glass beads before placement on the end of the tube. The animals wriggled the particles for 20-30 s before letting go, which suggested that the adhesive was sufficiently set within 30 s to support the glass beads. The structure of the adhesive joints was examined at the micro- and nanoscopic length scales using laser scanning confocal and atomic force microscopies. At the microscale, the adhesive was a cellular solid with cell diameters ranging from 0.5 to 6.0 mum, distributed to create a steep porosity gradient that ranged from near zero at the outside edges to about 50% at the center of the adhesive joint. At the nanoscale, the adhesive appeared to be an accretion of trillions of deformable nanospheres, reminiscent of a high-solids-content latex adhesive. The implications of the structure for the functionality of the adhesive is discussed.
Project description:Animals using adhesive pads to climb smooth surfaces face the problem of keeping their pads clean and functional. Here, a self-cleaning mechanism is proposed whereby soiled feet would slip on the surface due to a lack of adhesion but shed particles in return. Our study offers an in situ quantification of self-cleaning performance in fibrillar adhesives, using the dock beetle as a model organism. After beetles soiled their pads by stepping into patches of spherical beads, we found that their gait was significantly affected. Specifically, soiled pads slipped 10 times further than clean pads, with more particles deposited for longer slips. Like previous studies, we found that particle size affected cleaning performance. Large (45 ?m) beads were removed most effectively, followed by medium (10 ?m) and small (1 ?m). Consistent with our results from climbing beetles, force measurements on freshly severed legs revealed larger detachment forces of medium particles from adhesive pads compared to a flat surface, possibly due to interlocking between fibres. By contrast, dock leaves showed an overall larger affinity to the beads and thus reduced the need for cleaning. Self-cleaning through slippage provides a mechanism robust to particle size and may inspire solutions for artificial adhesives.